Blue Christmas in prospect for Banbridge

SHOPPERS in Banbridge have resoundingly turned down Councillor Sheila McQuaid’s challenge for the public to do their Christmas shopping in the town.

After Councillor McQuaid issued her festive challenge to shoppers we asked if you for your opinions on our Facebook page - and there were no positive responses.

Here’s what you had to say:

Judith Beresford - “I have no problem supporting local traders in Banbridge but the town needs new opportunites and get in line with other towns who offer people a variety of shopping opportunities. We have one major supermarket chain - Tesco. We need an Asda or Sainsburys for choice and value.”

Linda Quinn - “Banbridge has no choice, I will be traveling further afield this Christmas to shop as banbridge does not have a great variety of shops any more, although I always use the local butcher and bakery.”

Grace Murphy - “I’m afraid I’ve been travelling further afield also to get a wider selection of stuff for Christmas but I also support local butchers and bakeries, What our town needs is a Primark or Dunnes Store for families with small children,”

Rebecca Bingham - “I personally think people travel to Portadown, Lurgan or Newry for a change of scene and also to try and grab a bargain. Tesco these days is getting worse, their prices are growing so quickly. We need a couple of well known big branded shops.”

Rachel Hilditch - I will be doing my weekly shop in Asda Portadown. I’m glad to see an Asda closer than my normal weekly jaunt to Downpatrick or Belfast! I also fill up my car in Downpatrick Asda as it is always at least 5p cheaper per litre than Tesco which is 200 yards from my home!”

Stewart McClimonds - “Yes I will be travelling further afield for the simple reason its cheaper. For too long there has been no competition in Banbridge. Tesco and the town traders seem to charge just what they feel like, every week prices are going up, and yet the council and traders are saying shop local. Why should we when we can get things cheaper further afield? Any time banbridge goes to do something good, like an Asda or Tesco Extra it is opposed, because it might do damage to the town, and it is opposing this that is causing damage to the town!”

Leanne Mayne - “Shop elsewhere..... cheaper and more choice... town sucks for shopping.”

Drew Gregg - “Most readers know my stance on this issue but sometimes it feels like debating with a brick wall. The facebook page ‘Banbridge NEEDS YOU’ covers this topic very well. Banbridge NEEDS developed, NEEDS new major chain stores, NEEDS major brand names, NEEDS developers, NEEDS new ways of thinking and certainly not last, it NEEDS its people to support their own town. Every penny spent in another town by Banbridge people is helping that other town to prosper and is keeping Banbridge in the backwoods of retailing. I would go a stage further and I’m sure every resident would support me when I say ‘I challenge all our councillors of Banbridge District Council to speak as one voice and put a 100% effort into encouraging new business including chain stores/multi nationals etc into our Banbridge area. Stop letting a bunch of traders disguised as a Chamber of Commerce, stop letting groups like NIIRTA and Ulster Chemists Association dictate to you about what is best for our town. We did not elect any of them but we did elect you to represent us and it is very clear what we all want. I throw down the gauntlet to all councillors to speak out and say exactly where they stand on the future development of our town and what they personally plan to do about it.’

Kathy McConville - “Will definitely be going to ASDA. Great prices and choice, even the fuel was far cheaper. Banbridge is pathetic to be honest, no decent reasonably priced shops and no late night shopping. It will be a ghost town soon, if changes are not made!”

Sinead Toman - “The shops in Banbridge are afraid of a little competition from the likes of Asda and that is why it will continuously be rejected, Unless the town brings shops that are available in the likes of Belfast and Newry I can’t see many people staying in Banbridge to do their Christmas shopping. Banbridge is becoming a proper ghost town...”

Ally Kerr - “As a manager of a local town store I have always said Banbridge should do everything to get more big businesses into town not just for more availability to our customers but also would create loads of new jobs. Look at the amount of jobs Asda created in Portadown and what does this mean? These people with new jobs would then also have money to spend locally which would be an advantage for themselves, the economy and local stores. As well local people would prefer local shopping but if the value/options aren’t on their doorstep how can you blame anyone for going elsewere?”

Zoe Hubert - “Why should I stay and shop in Banbridge? What’s here? Portadown has an Asda and Rushmere isn’t too far away with all its big name shops. I can count on one hand the big brand names on our main street.”

Heather Mcknight - “I spend a day shopping elsewhere - half an hour wud see you around Banbridge - boring! I wish it wasnt like this though.”

Donna Duffy: “Banbridge has nothing to offer shoppers unfortunately! Any shops that are there are far too expensive. Some competition is needed!”

Louise Walker Trimble - “More tempted than ever to go elsewhere. Banbridge has nothing to offer, there is no competition and all the shops are too expensive! When I am shopping I always go to another town like Lisburn, Portadown or Newry.”

Leanne Mayne - “Banbridge might need you but we really dont need Banbridge as it stands right now for shopping.”

Stephen Henry - “I work in Craigavon and live in Banbridge. After leaving work I will be doing my shopping in the Portadown Asda. All the local councillors, local traders, Alex Atwood etc. that opposed any expansion in Banbridge should hang their head in shame. They have forced people out of the town.”

Emmalene Magill - I shopped at Asda tonight and regularly shop at Rushmere and Bow Street Mall because I can’t find what I want or need in Banbridge at a reasonable price nor can I shop at a time that suits me i.e after 5pm or on a Sunday afternoon. Until that changes I will continue to go elsewhere. And Asda’s petrol is 129.7 p - compare that with Tesco which was (I think) 135.9p on Monday, I’m sure Tesco’s filling sation at Craigavon is (or soon will be) a comparable price! And the Patterson’s garage in Moyallen is 129.9p. Why would you pay more in Banbridge when it’s much cheaper such a short distance away?”